RUSSELL L. MOODY, Petitioner,
HUNTINGTON INGALLS INCORPORATED; DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION PROGRAMS, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, Respondents.
Argued: October 25, 2017
Petition for Review of an Order of the Benefits Review Board.
Harlow Klein, MONTAGNA KLEIN CAMDEN LLP, Norfolk, Virginia,
Christopher R. Hedrick, MASON, MASON, WALKER & HEDRICK,
PC, Newport News, Virginia, for Respondent Huntington Ingalls
Jonathan H. Walker, Bradley D. Reeser, MASON, MASON, WALKER
& HEDRICK, PC, Newport News, Virginia, for Respondent
Huntington Ingalls Incorporated.
GREGORY, Chief Judge, NIEMEYER, and AGEE, Circuit Judges.
GREGORY, CHIEF JUDGE
L. Moody, a shipyard employee, suffered a workplace injury
but did not undergo surgery until after he retired. He sought
disability benefits for the two-month, post-surgery period
during which he was not medically cleared for work. The
Department of Labor's Benefits Review Board denied his
disability claim under the Longshore and Harbor Workers'
Compensation Act (the "LHWCA" or "Act").
33 U.S.C. §§ 901, 902(10), 908. The sole question
on appeal is whether voluntary retirement before the onset of
a workplace injury's debilitating effects precludes the
existence of a "disability." 33 U.S.C. §
902(10). We hold that it does not and reverse and remand.
Russell Moody began working for Appellee Huntington Ingalls
Inc. ("Huntington") in 1966, when he was only 20
years old. He continued to work for Huntington for 45 years,
as a rigger, a welder, and a truck driver. In June 2011,
Huntington assigned Moody to a new shift. On Aug. 1, 2011,
unhappy with the shift, Moody gave his requisite 90-day
notice of retirement, effective Oct. 31, 2011.
that 90 day-window, on Sep. 19, 2011, Moody injured his right
shoulder in the shipyard. While using the steering wheel of
his truck to pull himself into the driver's seat, Moody
tore his rotator cuff along with other parts of his shoulder.
Even though the injury required surgery, Moody continued to